A history of arboriculture in shanghai

A history of Arboriculture – Shanghai

A History of Arboriculture in Shanghai

Today, we will take a journey through the history of arboriculture in Shanghai, one of the largest and most populous cities in China. Trees and green spaces play a vital role in the cultural and physical landscape of Shanghai, and this article will explore their significance and how they have shaped the city.

The Early Years: Trees in Shanghai’s Gardens

Shanghai, a city located at the mouth of the Yangtze River on the east coast of China, has a long and rich history dating back over a thousand years. Trees have always been an integral part of the city’s landscape, with the first recorded gardens in Shanghai dating back to the Tang dynasty (618-907 AD).

During the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1912) dynasties, Shanghai’s wealthy merchants built gardens and parks that featured a wide variety of trees and plants. These gardens were designed to showcase the beauty of nature and provide a space for relaxation and reflection. One of the most famous gardens from this era is the Yuyuan Garden, built in 1559 during the Ming dynasty.

The Growth of Arboriculture in the 20th Century

In the early 20th century, Shanghai underwent a period of rapid development and modernization. The city’s population grew exponentially, and with it came increased demand for urban space. Despite this, the city’s arborists worked tirelessly to maintain and expand the city’s green spaces.

One notable figure in Shanghai’s arboriculture history is Dr. Chen Huanyong, a renowned arborist and city planner. Dr. Chen played a key role in the development of Shanghai’s urban forestry program, which emphasized the importance of trees in creating a healthy and sustainable urban environment. Under Dr. Chen’s leadership, Shanghai established its first urban forestry bureau in 1952, which was tasked with managing and maintaining the city’s trees and green spaces.

The Present Day: Trees in Modern Shanghai

Today, trees continue to play a vital role in the cultural and physical landscape of Shanghai. The city has over 2 million trees and more than 100 public parks, making it one of the greenest cities in China.

One of the most iconic trees in Shanghai is the Ginkgo tree, which can be found throughout the city. The Ginkgo tree is highly prized for its beauty and resilience, and has become a symbol of the city’s enduring spirit. Another iconic tree is the Magnolia, which can be found in many of Shanghai’s parks and gardens. Magnolia trees are known for their fragrant flowers and are a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike.

In recent years, Shanghai has faced a number of challenges related to urbanization and climate change. The city’s arborists have responded by developing innovative new techniques for planting and maintaining trees in urban environments. These techniques include the use of vertical gardens, green roofs, and other innovative strategies for maximizing green space in the city.


Through the centuries, trees have played a vital role in defining the cultural and physical landscape of Shanghai. From the city’s earliest gardens to the modern urban forests of today, trees have helped to shape the character and identity of Shanghai in countless ways. As the city continues to grow and evolve, its arborists and city planners will no doubt continue to rely on the power of trees to create a healthy, sustainable, and beautiful urban environment.

Interesting about trees in Shanghai:
  1. The plane tree is a common sight in Shanghai, particularly along the city’s famous shopping street, Nanjing Road.
  2. The Gingko tree, known for its fan-shaped leaves, is a popular tree in Shanghai and is often planted along the city’s streets.
  3. The camphor tree, known for its fragrant wood, is a tree species that has been planted in Shanghai for centuries.
  4. In the 19th century, the French Concession in Shanghai was known for its tree-lined streets, which were modeled after the boulevards of Paris.
  5. One of the most famous trees in Shanghai is the 500-year-old wutong tree, which is located in the Yuyuan Garden.
  6. The Yuyuan Garden, built in 1559, is one of the oldest and most famous gardens in Shanghai and features a wide variety of trees and plants.
  7. The Shanghai Botanical Garden, established in 1978, is home to over 6,000 species of plants, including many rare and endangered species.
  8. The Huangpu River, which runs through the heart of Shanghai, is lined with trees and is a popular spot for locals to go for a walk or run.
  9. The Shanghai Urban Forest Park, located in the Pudong district, is one of the largest urban parks in the world and covers an area of over 10,000 hectares.
  10. In recent years, the Shanghai government has launched several initiatives to plant more trees and improve the city’s air quality, including a goal to increase the city’s tree coverage to 35% by 2035.
Scroll to Top